Sep 29, 201411:49 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Intrepid Koch-head offends Madison’s left on Willy Street
(page 1 of 2)
It was an encounter of the Third or Fourth Kind. An irascible conservative, self-confessed gun nut, and Walker supporter (all in the same corpus) appeared at a liberal-progressive-socialist gabfest on Madison’s Willy Street Friday night like a job recruiter at an Occupy demonstration.
He settled in amongst the Believers who came to hear ghost stories around the rhetorical campfire and listen to State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, former abortion rights lobbyist for NARAL, conjure the evils of the American Legislative Exchange Council. Next to the Koch Brothers, ALEC is the left’s favorite hobgoblin.
I saw Taylor’s talk advertised by Dane County’s Progressive Voice, which faithfully advances every leftist picnic, protest, and illegal Occupation to the exclusion of dissenting voices in the Emerald City’s political monoculture. (The corporation has that First Amendment freedom.)
Rep. Chris Taylor
Some two-dozen Blue Fisters were seated around a large room at the ancient storefront of 911 Williamson St., just down the street from Madison Teachers Inc. headquarters. It was called “A Place to Be” and your intrepid blogger was. (The alternative was not to be, one supposes.)
The 45-year-old lawyer, John Nichols once gushed, is “the Legislature’s most ardent defender of the First Amendment rights to speak, to assemble and to petition for the redress of grievances.” This being Madison, the Democrat was twice elected without Republican opposition (one of five to get a free ride) and is unchallenged again this November.
Like Pocan and Baldwin, Taylor wants to geld the First Amendment to prohibit corporations — formed of individuals as they are (“and not polar bears,” as Justice Scalia wrote in Citizens United v. FEC) — from engaging in political speech.*
Despite championing what would be the first amendment to the Bill of Rights in its 223-year history, Rep. Taylor spoke disdainfully about conservative clamors for a constitutional convention that would — horror of horrors! — require the federal government to balance its budget.
Rep. Taylor left unmentioned the topic of pre-dawn raids on private homes by armed deputies to seize computers and cell phones used in the commission of free political speech. I was but one dissenting voice, and I did not want to be accused of disrupting a meeting. (That is their province.)
In “exposing” ALEC, Rep. Taylor said she was continuing the work of her predecessor in the State Assembly, Mark Pocan (now in Congress), who in turn succeeded Tammy Baldwin (now in the U.S. Senate) here in the 76th District. True fact: Taylor got more Democrat votes than any Assembly candidate in 2012. The isthmus really does bleed blue.
I thought it strange that an organization with an active website could be “exposed.” There it is for everyone to see on the home page: “Limited Government · Free Markets · Federalism.” Some conspiracy! It seemed more to me a case of likeminded individuals getting together from the 50 Laboratories of Democracy to share best practices. Those ideas then must rise or fall in the individual states. Besides which, Tommy Thompson taught ALEC about welfare reform and school choice. ALEC had nothing like Walker’s Act 10.
ALEC gives “marching orders” to its members, Rep. Taylor insisted. I queried whether those members did so against their will. Is Glenn Grothman a closet progressive forced to dance to his handler’s tune? She gave me that one but contended that many legislator-members of ALEC are in it for the campaign contributions. Rep. Taylor acknowledged she voted the teachers and labor union line and was rewarded for doing so. (As you can see here.)
Rep. Taylor said ALEC was opposed to alternative energy, a charge ALEC denies (though the group does caution that alternative energy costs consumers more). Interest in solar energy is “exploding.” Your humble squire murmured that so were manure digesters in Dane County. (She told me she opposes fracking. Taylor last session voted against mining for iron in Iron County but sponsors marijuana-legalization legislation, which she calls a job-creation bill.)
Rep. Taylor bemoaned the disappearance of “moderates” in the Republican Party. Heads nodded and the name “Dale Schultz” passed several lips around the room. It did not seem to bother Rep. Taylor that she was no moderate herself. Nor did she express interest in generating more moderates within the Democratic Party.
One earnest woman in the Place to Be could stand it no longer. “What’s wrong with Republicans?” she exclaimed more than asked — since she did not expect any to be in her midst. At this point, your intrepid blogger outed himself. “I’m one of them and I didn’t know something was wrong with me!” (Or something like that.)